Legislators in New Jersey are frantically moving to save jobs in their state by attempting to raise the threshold for the state estate tax, or simply by eliminating it all together. New Jersey is burdened with the lowest estate tax threshold of any state in the U.S. at $675,000 and is one of two states, together with Maryland, that enforce both an estate and inheritance tax – making it one of the worst places to die in the U.S.
Bipartisan leadership, including State Senators Steve Oroho (R) and Paul Sarlo (D), have sponsored seven bills in the New Jersey House and Senate. This legislation aims to gradually raise the estate tax threshold to match the federal level, phase the tax out over the next five years, or repeal it completely. Such aggressive action to reform the estate tax in New Jersey comes on the heels of other reform efforts in states like New York and Maryland. Legislators in New York and Maryland made changes to their estate tax exemption level earlier this year, passing bills that will gradually raise the threshold to match the federal level of $5.34 million by 2019.
In Maryland, ASSET was instrumental in getting an estate tax reform bill introduced and subsequently passed through its advocacy and lobbying efforts in the state legislature. ASSET will continue to help our members and supporters in New Jersey push for estate tax reform akin to the bills passed earlier this year in New York and Maryland.
Estate tax reform at the state level appears to focus primarily on saving jobs and preventing higher-income residents from moving out of the state to avoid the tax. ASSET maintains these essential goals in our plan to reform the estate tax on the federal level. The ASSET solution for estate tax reform would not only create thousands of private sector jobs by freeing up capital locked away in unproductive trusts, but also eliminate the immense pressure of the estate tax on family farms, ranches and small businesses.